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Tag: impermanence

BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 4): On Wabi-Sabi

BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 4): On Wabi-Sabi

As a Perfectionist in remission, I am here to tell you that wabi-sabi — a Japanese way of seeing the world — works as an antidote to the never-good-enough, shiny-new-thing madness induced by the classical hyper-focus on perfection and the kind of seamless orderliness that arises from the mathematical, mechanical precision that evolved in the super-industrialized Occidental West where more is always better.

I grew up in a pineapple plantation camp on Molokai.  Many of my neighbors were Issei, first-generation immigrants from Japan, who brought it with them from their homeland.  I was marinated in wabi-sabi.

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HONORING IMPERMANENCE

HONORING IMPERMANENCE

One of the wisest thoughts I’ve ever encountered about impermanence is this one from English writer W. Somerset Maugham’s novel, THE RAZOR’S EDGE:

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.” 

It reminds me of a Hawaiian aesthetic that holds that beauty is made more precious when we understand that it is ephemeral and will not last.

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PILING ON THE METAPHORS

PILING ON THE METAPHORS

It is my contention that, basically, poems are piles of metaphors stacked on top of each other like those funny-looking block stacks in a Jenga! game, with holes for the bits you’ve left out (or have taken out) because they were not needed to transport your reader into some other point-of-view.

That juxtaposition of metaphors works because of ability of the mind of the listener or the reader to make connections between the images the poet offers up.  The audience that can hook the offered images together with other things from their own life experiences enhances the liveliness of the poetry.

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